Spring 1966. Tourism fever is gripping Europe. Inhabitants from the North cross the Pyrenees, drawn by the warm climate and sunny beaches of this side of the Mediterranean. German citizens (who as from February can visit us without the need of a passport) toast themselves under the midday sun, along with the English, Swedish…. and the Spanish.
Tourism has become the national sport and our favourite sporting event is practiced at the wheel of the SEAT 600. Nevertheless, after nine years of packing our bags with unforgettable experiences, the boot has started to get a bit claustrophobic. There are other cars, of course, but not everyone can afford them.
All of that is about to change.
On the 16th April the all-new SEAT 850, a two-door sedan, arrives on the market like manna from heaven. And its success will drive significant growth for Barcelona’s Zona Franca factory.
What is it that the SEAT 850 has that other vehicles don’t? To begin with an affordable price, similar to the 600’s price tag. What’s more it incorporates a number of advantages in comparison to its “big brother”: it’s safer, has a more powerful engine and a much roomier boot space, something that will turn out to be a determining factor in the success of the “ocho y medio” (8 ½), a vehicle that will go on to inspire all number of versions.
The following year will see the appearance of one of its most famous adaptations: the 850 four-door sedan. It will also see the launch of the classic car SEAT 850 Coupe, the first SEAT with front disc brakes, 47 PS and a maximum speed of 140 km/h, making this sports version the dream car for many young Spaniards.
1969 will see the arrival of the 850 Spider, a two seater convertible, and in 1970 the SEAT 850 Sport Coupe and the SEAT 850 luxury edition. Two years after that SEAT will launch the SEAT 850 D, an updated version of the original model and definitive swansong for the range: 1974 will see production for this model come to a halt. After eight years (and 16 versions) broadening horizons, the 850 makes way for the arrival of the SEAT 133. And the 127, but that’s another story.
Know more about SEAT's historic models in the new Digital Museum